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Chasse-Galerie: 8710 Chuck Lemieux comfortable in pinch-hitting role

E3161 Victoria Edwards (RMC 2003) interviewed 8710 BGen (Ret`d) Charles (Chuck) Lemieux (CMR 1971), one of fifteen (13 Ex-Cadets & 2 current Officer Cadets) who will raise money for the Class of 1971’s Athletic Endowment Fund by paddling a voyageur canoe from Ottawa to Kingston this September, 2016. You can make a pledge or donation at www.rmcclubfoundation.ca.

Victoria Edwards: You recently joined the Chasse-Galerie crew. This will be your 1st fund-raising canoe trip down the Rideau. Why was it important to you to support the Athletic Endowment Fund?

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Charles (Chuck) Lemieux: I am replacing 15519 Sandra Sukstorf who unfortunately has left the expedition in order to focus on a serious medical issue in her family and I wish her well.  As a member of the RMC soccer team and hockey team years ago, I personally benefitted from the development that this provided me, including giving me a much broader perspective of the benefits of sport in individual development.  I recall playing soccer at Bishop University (near Sherbrooke, Qc) when one of the Bishop players declared that he had lost one of his contact lenses during play, both teams were quickly on their hands and knees looking for it, and we found it – a sign of sportsmanship. A little later in the year, we were playing an exhibition game against Colgate University (near Syracuse) in northern NY State when I realized that this team could really skate, so I looked at the roster that was beside me on the bench and then I realized that most of the players were on scholarship from the province of Québec, players with family names like Rousseau, Tardif, – respect for talent.  In the Fall of 1970, we were surprised and taught a lessons by Loyola University, as the RMC soccer team had not lost a soccer game in over three years.  So the Loyola coaching staff decided to set the conditions in their favour: a group of students with physical latin features, short in stature and a soccer pitch that was less than half the size of a normal pitch, we lost 0-3 – our speed was no longer a factor.  It was all in the spirit of competition!  The Sports Program is one of the means the colleges use to develop officers who one day will lead the CF and the community they live in.  In my last year at RMC, a senior staff member had lost sight of this, a lesson I would keep top of mind during my career.

Victoria Edwards:  You were the Cadet Wing Commander (COMA) at the Collège militaire royale in your last year and the Deputy Cadet Wing Commander (DCWC) in your fourth year at RMC. Any highlights or lessons learned?

Charles (Chuck) Lemieux: In the Spring of 1968, I was named ‘le Commandant de l’escadre des élèves officiers’, a few days before the graduation parade, it taught me that others in life often have more confidence in you than you have in yourself.  Also, the fair application of rules and regulations when it involves your peers is a challenge because you need to be in your role and at the same time to be true to your values – in my case, the values of respect, fairness and empathy.  As the Deputy Cadet Wing Commander in my last year at RMC, by then I knew that leadership was about being present, giving the example and respect for the institution’s rules, regulations and guidelines.  And the more power you have, the less you are able to use it in life, personally or professionally, as success in life is all about maintaining trusting relationships.

Victoria Edwards: Do you have any canoeing experience? Any lessons learned?

Charles (Chuck) Lemieux: In my teenage years, my brothers and I did a little bit of canoeing trout fishing near Maniwaki, Québec.  Besides wearing a life jacket, you needed to be aware of the direction of the wind and the size of the waves.  A few years later, water skiing on the Rideau River near Ottawa, we were very aware of the large boats in the narrow passages that can easily ‘swamp you’, if you are not careful.  Also, rafting in large groups during my infantry training, I quickly realized the importance of everyone working together.

There is perhaps a little ‘coureur des bois’ genes in the Lemieux family.  Two of my ancestors (Louis and his brother Pierre) joined Louis Jolliet on his first expedition to Hudson Bay in May 1679.  The official mission was to establish a trading post and the St-François-Xavier catholic mission at Nemiskau.

Today in May of every year, I open the trout season with my brother and close the season with him in September in the ZEC (Zone écologique et de conservation) Bras Coupé Désert near Maniwaki where there is no telephone or internet communication.  There I have hidden a 14 foot canoe near the lake that we fished as teenagers and that is only accessible on foot.

I am looking forward to being one of the 15 paddlers on the Rideau in September.

Victoria Edwards: Décrivez-nous votre carrière militaire suite à votre graduation du collège militaire?  Les évènements et les leçons à retenir?

Charles (Chuck) Lemieux: J’ai plus de 36 belles années en uniforme et j’ai pris ma retraite le 3 avril 2003 au grade de brigadier général.  Ma formation s’est faite avec la troupe du Royal 22e Régiment pour  qui j’avais, et j’ai toujours, une grande amitié. 

  1. Nous avions un style différent des autres unités d’infanterie canadiennes.  Mon commandant de brigade (en Europe) me fait la remarque la journée suite à ma prise de commandement du 1er Bataillon à Lahr en Allemagne : « Your unit is different, but it works! ».  La leçon : l’importance de respecter le style de leadership de d’autres. 
  2. Quelques années plus tôt, on m’avait confié la tâche d’enquêter pour les tireurs de l’arme anti-char lourde TOW qui avaient de la difficulté à atteindre leurs cibles.  J’ai créé un processus qui allait comprendre une grande consultation incluant auprès de nos alliés pour en arriver avec une approche à suivre.  La leçon : devant l’inconnu, j’ai réalisé que je pouvais me débrouiller pour en arriver à une solution et avancer.
  3. J’allais apprendre quelques années plus tard qu’il fallait que je sois un peu moins fonceur comme Commandant du Secteur de Bihac durant la guerre en Bosnie – il fallait que je comprenne vraiment mon rôle.  Avant longtemps, j’ai compris que durant les missions de maintien de la paix, il faut établir la priorité dans l’ordre suivant : loyauté envers la troupe, ensuite envers la mission. 
  4. À mon retour au Canada, le directeur du leadership et de l’éthique au QGDN m’a demandé de résumer les leçons que j’avais apprises pendant mon année en Bosnie et il me donnait cinq (5) minutes pour le faire devant des centaines de personnes lors d’une conférence sur le leadership et l’éthique – il avait raison.  C’est à ce moment là que j’ai compris l’importance d’apprendre rapidement et conclure ce qui ait important.  J’ai raconté cette histoire lors de la soirée des officiers retraités du Royal 22e Régiment, et les centaines d’officiers et leurs épouses ont commencé à rire, j’ai enchaîné en leur disant que j’avais confiance qu’il puisse apprendre en moins de cinq minutes durant leur déploiement en Afghanistan; ils ont compris par leur grand silence.
  5. J’ai eu l’occasion de rencontrer de nouveau  au Canada une collègue à moi de la Bosnie, une avocate travaillant à l’époque avec le UNHCR, et elle m’a raconté qu’elle aimait bien les Canadiens parce que « nous étions tellement naïfs en mission!! ».  J’ai retenu l’importance de bien connaître et de respecter les limites de son rôle.
  6. À la surprise de mes autorités régimentaires, j’ai pris une décision qui ne leur a pas plu, demandant de ne pas déménager ma famille pour une année pour permettre à mon fils de finir sa dernière année de son secondaire à Kingston, ensuite de déménager ma famille à la ville de Québec l’année suivante.  Ils ont refusé.  Aujourd’hui ça se fait couramment, les autorités militaires sont beaucoup plus sensibles à l’équilibre service/famille. Et, sans l’appui de mes autorités régimentaires, dix ans plus tard j’ai été promu au grade de brigadier général.  Il faut rester convaincu des valeurs qui nous définissent et les vivre malgré la pression de l’environnement.

Victoria Edwards: I understand you are an executive coach. What is your coaching pholosophy?

Charles (Chuck) Lemieux: I founded Reaching Your Potential Coaching.

  1. Since November 2003, I provided over 6,000 hours of executive coaching to aspiring executives in the Ottawa area and over the phone across Canada.  I also conduct team building sessions based on the needs of my clients.  I am a human resource professional with accreditation from the Canadian Human Resources Professionals Association (CHRP) and a professional coach, earning the designation ‘Master Personal and Executive Coach (MPEC)’ from the College of Executive Coaching, an institution recognized by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). I provide executive coaching services to the Public Service Commission’s Executive Counselling Services and private practice clients. In the past, I provided coaching services to the Canadian School of Public Service’s Accelerated Executive Development Program (AEXDP) and Advanced Leadership Program (ALP). My coaching philosophy is ‘holistic’ because the client’s whole life is incorporated into the coaching agenda, ‘values-based’ because it is important to discuss the client’s most important values or passion areas, and ‘action oriented’ because almost every coaching session has a focus on identifying and committing to specific actions  – www.charleslemieux.com.
  1. Since joining “the private sector” on retirement, it has been interesting for me to see how the value I offer has been expressed by clients, returning for more assistance and referring others to me.

Victoria Edwards: What are your other activities?

Charles (Chuck) Lemieux:  My wife Chantal and I have eight (8) grandchildren and we await two others this Fall, so we very much enjoy being with family throughout the year.

  1. Also, I am Chair of The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre Foundation Board and the Foundation representative ex-officio on The Perley and Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre Board. I have been on the Foundation Board since 2007.  Previously, I chaired the Foundation’s Strategic Planning Committee. Since its establishment in 1988, The Foundation has raised over 25 million dollars. Funds have been used to construct the original campus buildings in the early 1990s, Perley Rideau Guest House in 2004-2006, to purchase equipment such as baths, lifts, improve the grounds and support recreational activities such as the Health Centre’s recreation and creative arts programs. All funds raised through the Foundation’s $5 million capital campaign are dedicated to the construction costs of the two seniors’ apartment buildings and the associated amenities – www.perleyrideau.ca
  2. My wife and I love travelling, next trip for the month of February 2017 is to Dubai (where my niece lives) – to Bangkok (where my cousin lives) – and to Seoul (where my nephew lives) and road biking, annually with family we take part in Vélo Québec’s three day July long weekend ride.

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8710 Chuck Lemieux ‘71 is one of 13 Ex-Cadets and two current cadets who will raise money for the Danny McLeod Athletic Endowment Fund by paddling a voyageur canoe from Ottawa to Kingston this September, 2016. You can make a pledge or donation at www.rmcclubfoundation.ca.

Our aim at e-Veritas is to conduct one-on-one interviews with all 15 participants (in no particular order) over the next few weeks of e-Veritas Issues.

11 down; 4 to go!

5893 Dr. Tom Gee ‘63

8684 Peter Holt ‘71

8788 Geoff Bennett ‘71

8725 Fergus McLaughlin ‘71

8833 John Leggat ‘71

8836 Clark Little ‘71

8926 Ray Hook ‘71

9143 Bruce McAlpine ‘72

12192 Tom Lawson ‘79

M0288 Roxanne Rees ‘83

8710 Chuck Lemieux ‘71

15566 Helga Grodzinski ‘86

22461 Claire Bramma ‘02

27173 William Carpentier (RMCC) ‘18

27369 Andréanne Tremblay (RMCSJ) ‘20